Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law applies for asylum in Britain

  • Law announced the move in an opinion piece in ‘The Guardian’ and said the UK and Europe needed to make stronger moves against China
  • An arrest warrant was issued for Law in October over an illegal assembly on June 4
South China Morning Post |
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Exiled activist Nathan Law addresses a recent rally in London. Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hong Kong former pro-democracy lawmaker and activist Nathan Law Kwun-chung has applied for political asylum in Britain, six months after he went into self-imposed exile in London.

The former student leader, who was removed from the legislature in 2017 for improperly taking his oath, said he chose to stay in Britain because he hoped to “sound an alarm to remind” the country and Europe of the danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the values of democracy.

In an opinion piece published on Monday in British newspaper The Guardian, Law revealed that he had submitted “an application for asylum” in Britain.

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Law, who felt Britain and Europe had not stood firmly enough against Beijing, said his move was also related to “the West’s strategy for countering the authoritarian expansion of China”. Too many people “laboured under the fantasy that China would be a strategic partner to the West, perhaps even one part of the democratic world”, he said.

“The process of awakening from this illusion takes time. In the [United States], adopting an assertive approach to China and positioning it as one of the country’s greatest enemies is a bipartisan consensus now,” he wrote.

“This is not the case in [Britain] and the [European Union]; that consensus needs to be built.

Nathan Law left Hong Kong for London in late June. Photo: AFP

“This is the reason why I boarded a plane destined for London. This is also why I planned to stay here and become a political refugee in this foreign yet somewhat familiar place. I hope that my presence can sound an alarm to remind people just how much of a danger the [Chinese Communist Party] poses to our shared democratic values.

“Your eyes should not rest on the economic gains – we have so much to lose.”

Law fled Hong Kong in late June, days before Beijing imposed the national security law.

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In October, arrest warrants were issued for Law after he failed to appear in court. He was among activists charged over an illegal assembly during this year’s June 4 vigil in Victoria Park.

Hong Kong police have not openly provided a list of wanted dissidents. However, police sources did identify Law as one of the people overseas wanted on suspicion of breaking the new law, which bans acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

In the newspaper article, Law wrote about his self-imposed exile: “I decided to flee to where I could speak freely. I am the first former lawmaker in Hong Kong, and the youngest elected in history, to live a life of exile.”

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